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Mercedes 380--450--560 SLs

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  • sddlwsddlw Posts: 361
    Just got a call from Ziggy (my mechanic). Front end in good shape. No tie rod problems or bushing deterioration. Calipers in excellent shape. Steering box loose, need to rebuild the ball joint and box assembly. He also suspects that the old hydraulic hoses may have swollen inside and reduced the flow of hydrolic fluid. Said he's seen this before. So were gonna try new hoses and fluid and a steering box rebuild and see what happens.

    Ah, the joys of an older car. What would I do with all that money of we didn't drive cars. :-)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,416
    Oh, we'd waste it on food or our kids education.

    MODERATOR

  • sddlwsddlw Posts: 361
    Wow, what a difference. I guess these things kind of creep up on you. I had started to notice a little play in the steering. But with a new ball joint, the overall performance of the steering is like night and day. The brakes seem much crisper too. I guess the new hoses were needed. Since the problem with pulling to one side or the other was intermittent, I'll just have to wait to see if the problem is gone.
  • jaserbjaserb Posts: 858
    I just installed a new Blaupunkt San Diego CD32 stereo in my Alfa Spider and it looks like it was born there. The one I got was a cheapie ($159 at Crutchfield) but it looks good and has enough power to hear it at 70 with the top down. Blau doesn't have it on their web site yet - look at Crutchfield (sorry, this link don't wanna work)

    www.crutchfield.com/cgi-bin/S-Ig4NNrAnBbb/ProdView.asp?s=0&c=3&g=300&I=023SANDIEG&o=m&a=0


    The Santa Fe CD32 is similar with a few more bells and whistles. If you want something a little nicer, check out the Nakamichis at http://www.nakamichiusa.com - these are VERY nice, clean looking, and probably have much better sound than my cheap Blau, but I decided I didn't need to spend that much.


    -Jason (who hates "bling bling" stereos)

  • sddlwsddlw Posts: 361
    Hey thanks Jason! The Blaupunkt isn't bad looking at all, but the Nakamichi line is about as close to the look we want as anything I've seen. In fact, I think it not only blends well with the 80's style, but looks better than the original Becker. I'm going to talk to the guy who is doing our installation today and see if the CD-40z or CD-45z will be compatible with the other parts of the current system (amp, sub-woofer, etc).
  • jaserbjaserb Posts: 858
    I think we're starting to see a backlash against the gaudy, flashy aftermarket stereos that have been forced on us. If you look at the 2001 Blaupunkt T-line compared to the 2002 models the new ones are far more restrained and tasteful.
    In the end I chose the Blau strictly on convenience and price - a local shop had the San Diego in stock for $100 ($60 less than Crutchfield!), while even the cheapest Nakamichis were $200+++ and I couldn't find a convenient source. If I were installing it in a Benz I probably would have cared more about sound quality but in a noisy, snarly Alfa about the best you can hope for is to hear it above the engine / wind noise. Good luck, and let us know how it turns out!

    -Jason
  • sddlwsddlw Posts: 361
    Bad news. I guess Nak is having some "supply chain" difficulties during a model changeover. They have phased out the CD35z and 40z models and are expecting to be able to supply the CD-45Z in about 3-4 weeks, but at a higher price, along with a new series of gear. :-(

    Our second choice is made by Eclipse. It is kind of similar to the Blau in overall design, although the LED screens are a little more pronounced. But does have all the modern technology we are looking for including a separate sub-woofer channel and comes highly recommended by our install guy. At least it doesn't flash lights and silly designs ;-)

    My wife decided not to wait (and pay more) for the Nak, so I'm going in Saturday for the Eclipse.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,416
    Might even be more reliable, too.

    MODERATOR

  • My '80 450SL driver's seat doesn't like to recline. The shaft which links the knob from the left side to the right side comes out of the square-drive gear that it fits into. Usually I can fit the shaft back in, and then it works. But invariably it comes out, and then the knob freezes up and jams. This has resulted in my driving around with the cover off of the back of the driver's seat.

    Has anyone else encountered this problem, and/or know of a fix?

    Thanks!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,416
    Must be a lost retaining clip or pin somewhere in that seat. You could unbolt it and take it to an upholsterer if you can't figure out how to secure it. they do this kind of stuff all the time.

    MODERATOR

  • sddlwsddlw Posts: 361
    Or take it to a shop that does interior restoration, seat rebuilding and reappolstering.

    I don't know about the 450SL, but our 380SL has the manual seat adjust (forward-backwards) on an incredibly tight spring. One end on the seat bottom. One end secured to the floorboards. Disconnecting it wasn't too bad, but it takes a lot of muscle, experience, or proper tools, or some combination of the 3 to resecure the spring if you have disconnected it to remove the seat. I've taken seat out from several makes of cars, including two other MBs, with manual and electric mechanisms, to be able to remove the carpet for replacement or deep cleaning while detailing the car......the SL seat was the only one I ran into problems with. I ended up having the spring reinstalled by a shop.... how embarrassing.
  • sddlwsddlw Posts: 361
    Got my wife's 380SL ready for the winter rainy season here. Shampooed the canvas and stowed it. Bolted on the hard-top. Gave it a good cleaning and waxing top to bottom.

    With 5,000 miles on those new Dunlop Sport 8000s I can say that overall they are pretty nice handling tires and seem very grippy, but the deep vertical grooves makes them a little twitchy with any imperfections in the road surface.

    Other than that, the car is running great with 106K miles on it.
  • la8956slla8956sl Posts: 2
    I have an `89 560 SL with ~130,000 miles on it. I've been to all the dealers in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica area, and find the service to be atrocious and ridiculously expensive. For a 17 year old car, my SL is in pretty good shape, but I need a major service (brakes, front tie rods/bushing, engine compression check, etc.)and I'm looking for a mechanic I can establish a relationship with in the Hollywood/Silverlake area of L.A. who works on classic Mercedes'. Any suggestions?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,416
    Call Heritage Classics Motorbooks in West Hollywood and ask if they know anyone. You might also find some good books about your car there as well.

    MODERATOR

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    You should be able to find a place...from my experience, every decent metro area has some good independent MB shops, and I would expect many in LA. I wouldn't take my car to the dealer unless it is under warranty...the labor here (Seattle) is $125/hr and I am sure it is more there. My independent charges barely more than half that, and his shop is spotless, and he has a large clientele.
  • edrayedray Posts: 2
    I brought my 1980 SL to a shop for heater repair. I have airconditioning but no heating. According to mechanic I have to replace a climate control module that controls the temp by way of the wheel knob setting on the dashboard panel. He said it will cost a thousand $ and of course, I almost dropped to the floor. Can you tell me if this is true or something may have gone wrong in the system? Thanks for your anticipated advice and time.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,416
    It's a typical SL problem, so it could very well be true. A lot of the $$$ is labor. I think you can find rebuilt modules on the Internet at a reasonable cost but somebody still has to dig the old one out of there. If you own a V8 SL, you're going to have to stand for these $1,000 hits every now and then. It's not a cheap car to own when it breaks.

    But shop around and ask around. If you are in a large metro area, maybe even a Mercedes wrecker will install a used part for you for a lot less $$$.

    MODERATOR

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    From what I know, which isn't perfect as I haven't had an HVAC failure in any of my cars...a grand doesn't seem out of line, esp if it is a decent shop. A fully rebuilt module should be at least a few hundred, and there's lots of labor involved. That's part of the joy of an old MB.

    Those climate control setups had to be one of the weirdest of all time. My W126 had something similar, but it always worked - cold air and heat. However, now and then it would also put out heat when I had the heat turned off, or it would put out cold air when I had it on economy. I just ignored it.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,521
    The servo valve is very expensive if that's the problem. The dealer price is high, but if you DIY you can get one for about $650 if I remember right. As far as replacing it the complexity depends on the model. The old sedans and coupes that had it on the firewall weren't to hard, an electrical connector, a vacuum connector, and a couple of hoses.
    There were aftermarket ones available that had an aluminum billet housing, but I don't any experience with those myself.
    I wouldn't bother with any used ones, they usually aren't worth the money.
  • edrayedray Posts: 2
    Thanks for the advice. Yes, I have a V8SL and I don't think I want to spend that much for the heater repair. I'll just leave it as is and drive it on a sunny weather.
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